Recently, a letter appeared on these pages thanking the council for its speedy response to a report of vandalism at a children’s play area in Knaresborough.
While it is heartening to read such words, it does highlight the problem of criminal damage in public spaces across the district.
Over the last 12 months, over 60 acts of vandalism have occurred in council play areas. Incidents have included arson; graffiti; destruction of fencing and safety flooring; and deliberate damage to play equipment, such as swings and slides.
There were also 25 incidents of broken glass and waste being left in the play areas. The cost of repairing this damage is significant – over £11,000 in the last year.
These acts of vandalism are not always isolated incidents – for instance having repaired the damage to the gate at the children’s play area in Knaresborough, it was upsetting to find that just a few days later further damage occurred which will cost over £2,500 to repair.
Acts of vandalism have a wider impact on the community.
A significant amount of money that could be spent on improving our parks, gardens and play areas has needed to be used to repair damage.
The council’s teams work extremely hard to ensure that our towns look fantastic for both residents and visitors and such vandalism spoils people’s enjoyment.
We will do everything in our powers to ensure that those responsible face the full consequence of their actions. We would like to ask the local community to remain vigilant and if they witness any criminal damage in the district’s parks, gardens or children’s play areas to please get in touch with the council by calling 01423 500 600, email CustomerServices@harrogate.gov.uk or contact the police.
Coun Michael Harrison
Harrogate Borough Council’s Cabinet Member for
Environment, Waste Reduction and Recycling